Wendy J. Lynch


  • BA, Augsburg College
  • PhD, University of Minnesota
  • Postdoc, Wake Forest University

Primary Appointment

  • Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences


Research Interest(s)

Behavioral Pharmacology, Sex Differences, Animal Models of Addiction

Research Description

My laboratory uses behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular techniques to delineate the neurobiological basis of addiction. We are particularly interested in determining the biological basis of sex differences in vulnerability to addiction. Our work has shown that females are more vulnerable than males to the reinforcing effects of drugs during the different phases of the addiction process including acquisition, maintenance, escalation, and relapse. We are examining a number of biological factors that may underlie these sex differences including hormones, age, dopaminergic signaling, as well as interactions between these factors. Another area of interest is on pharmacotherapies for treating addiction. The use of animal models is critical to determining the process by which potential medications for treating drug addiction exert their behavioral-pharmacological effects. Such information will help guide the development and use of medications for drug addiction treatment in humans. Ultimately, animal models of addiction will be very useful for understanding the neurobiological basis of addiction, determining potential treatments, and identifying individuals at risk for drug addiction.

Selected Publications

  • Lynch W, Bond C, Breslin F, Johnson B. Severity of drinking as a predictor of efficacy of the combination of ondansetron and topiramate in rat models of ethanol consumption and relapse. Psychopharmacology. 2011;217(1): 3-12. PMID: 21424693
  • Abdolahi A, Acosta G, Breslin F, Hemby S, Lynch W. Incubation of nicotine seeking is associated with enhanced protein kinase A-regulated signaling of dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of 32 kDa in the insular cortex. The European journal of neuroscience. 2010;31(4): 733-41. PMID: 20384816
  • Lynch W, Nicholson K, Dance M, Morgan R, Foley P. Animal models of substance abuse and addiction: implications for science, animal welfare, and society. Comparative medicine. 2010;60(3): 177-88. PMID: 20579432 | PMCID: PMC2890392
  • Lynch W, Piehl K, Acosta G, Peterson A, Hemby S. Aerobic exercise attenuates reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior and associated neuroadaptations in the prefrontal cortex. Biological psychiatry. 2010;68(8): 774-7. PMID: 20692647 | PMCID: PMC2949528
  • Sex and ovarian hormones influence vulnerability and motivation for nicotine during adolescence in rats. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior. 2009;94(1): 43-50. PMID: 19619575 | PMCID: PMC2766849
  • Breslin F, Johnson B, Lynch W. Effect of topiramate treatment on ethanol consumption in rats. Psychopharmacology. 2009;207(4): 529-34. PMID: 19823810
  • Lynch W, Girgenti M, Breslin F, Newton S, Taylor J. Gene profiling the response to repeated cocaine self-administration in dorsal striatum: a focus on circadian genes. Brain research. 2008;1213 166-77. PMID: 18452895 | PMCID: PMC2494701
  • Acquisition and maintenance of cocaine self-administration in adolescent rats: effects of sex and gonadal hormones. Psychopharmacology. 2007;197(2): 237-46. PMID: 18066534
  • Taylor J, Lynch W, Sanchez H, Olausson P, Nestler E, Bibb J. Inhibition of Cdk5 in the nucleus accumbens enhances the locomotor-activating and incentive-motivational effects of cocaine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2007;104(10): 4147-52. PMID: 17360491 | PMCID: PMC1820723
  • Lynch W, Kiraly D, Caldarone B, Picciotto M, Taylor J. Effect of cocaine self-administration on striatal PKA-regulated signaling in male and female rats. Psychopharmacology. 2006;191(2): 263-71. PMID: 17180335